Maternal Gluten Sensitivity and Schizophrenia

In a recent study out of Johns Hopkins, the question of the connection between gluten sensitivity and the development of schizophrenia raised an intriguing question – what role does food sensitivity and food allergies of a birth mother play in the future mental health of children? With the increased numbers of people being diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, the research may provide incentives for mothers to reevaluate their food choices while pregnant.

Wheat Consumption and Mental Health

With the increased availability of processed food in the American diet since World War II, wheat sensitivity has become an ever-increasing problem. One theory is that overexposure to wheat has resulted in the development of food allergies in the form of gluten sensitivity. Wheat products are present in almost every kind of processed food imaginable, including salad dressing, pastries, condiments, candy, frozen foods and baked goods, just to name a few. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include diarrhea, bloating, gas, constipation, abdominal cramping, rectal bleeding and fatigue.

In the study from Johns Hopkins, it was discovered that children born to women with wheat and gluten sensitivity had increased chances of having a child who developed schizophrenia later in life. Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder characterized by delusions and hallucinations, resulting in distorted thinking and perceptions. Typically, onset age is during adolescence and early adulthood. Although symptoms of schizophrenia can be treated with medication, it is an extremely challenging illness for both patients and family members.

It is not well understood how gluten sensitivity in a pregnant woman increases the risk of development of schizophrenia in children or if it is a marker of a potential genetic predisposition to the mental health condition. However, for pregnant women who already have difficulty with wheat products, a diet change may be in order for the health of their child later in life.

– The Alternative Daily

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